Whenever we talk about web optimization, we tend to focus on concepts or features related to improving landing pages, conversion rates, and generating more traffic. But three main pillars should be taken into account when building a website: performance, appearance, and of course, visibility. Those three concepts are the sides of a pyramid that includes optimization, design, and marketing.
First of all, let’s look at how these pillars impact overall web performance.
Performance: is one of the most critical factors, so it’s crucial to understand what’s going on with your website. Good performance means better rankings in Google, more conversions, and less bounce rate. It’s composed of web optimization and marketing.
Appearance: covers the design side of things. It’s about having a professional-looking website that is easy for visitors to navigate. It’s composed of web optimization and Design.
Visibility: deals with search engine optimization and how to get your site found by people searching for what you offer. It’s composed of Marketing and Design.
As you can see, the three concepts are intertwined together, and one can not function without the other.
Performance; Marketing and Web Optimization Side by Side
Performance refers to how quickly your website loads for users, which is critical because most people won’t wait more than a few seconds to view a page. If you have a slow-loading website, you will lose potential customers to competitors who can offer them a better experience.
I’m a strong advocate of viewing performance as an essential part of design and development. It’s not something you should tack on after your site has been built; instead, think about performance from the very start.
Optimizing a website can be complicated, but it all starts with the user, where marketing comes in.
“Marketing is what you do to drive more conversions, while web optimization is what you do to improve your conversion rate” – Guillermo Figueroa, SEO Scalater.
Web performance data and analytics can help you identify users’ problems on your site, but they don’t tell you why they are happening. Marketing allows us to understand the why behind these issues.
Many factors can impact web performance, including page weight and page design. For example, if a page is taking too long to load, then you could look at reducing image sizes or improving server response times. Marketing provides us insight into why those images are there and how to optimize them for our audience.
Marketing and web optimization teams need to be in sync to build a website that’s high-performing, accessible, and easy for users to navigate. However, too many teams work in silos, preventing them from leveraging the strengths of each other’s expertise.
Marketing can provide insight into what content users are looking for when visiting your site. On the other hand, optimization experts can help ensure the site performs well and offers a good user experience.
When marketing and web optimization work together, you end up with a website that’s high-performing, accessible, and easy for users to navigate.
Here are some ways marketing and web optimization can work together:
Identify where people are coming from to get to your site so you can optimize your content accordingly. For example, if you notice increased traffic from emails or ads with specific keywords, you might want to include those terms in your content or landing pages.
It’s not just marketing and optimization side by side, but also how they impact each other.
The primary goal of marketing is to increase traffic and revenue. However, the quality of that traffic matters a lot. Marketing activities like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and email campaigns can be highly effective at driving more visitors to your site. Still, their effectiveness depends on their targeting quality and your site’s performance.
If the people you’re marketing to have little interest in your products, they won’t convert. If they’re located far away from your closest warehouse, shipping costs will make it difficult for you to make a profit on your sales. Optimization can help with both these problems.
Optimization helps increase conversion rate by improving the experience for visitors who are already interested in your products. It does this by leveraging data about what people want and how they behave to guide them towards taking action on your website — usually buying a product or signing up for an email list.
So in all, optimization and marketing work along to create your web performance and how well it will rank in the SERP.
Visibility: Marketing and Design to create UX
As well as Marketing and optimization work together to create a good web performance; marketing and design tag along to construct the user experience.
Web visibility means making sure as many people can see and use your website. For example, one aspect of web visibility is creating a site that’s easy to find on search engines like Google or Bing; another element is making sure that people can find what they’re looking for once they get there. Many companies hire entire teams of people whose sole job is to optimize websites for more visibility.
Marketing and web design together
A company’s marketing and web design teams often work together to create a website that can attract users, encourage engagement and ultimately convert them into customers. The key is to balance these elements with the site’s performance needs. A site that performs well is a site that people want to use.
Great design is essential; it helps build trust in your brand, provides a positive first impression, and directly impacts revenue. But your design choices can dramatically affect how well your site performs.
For example, high-resolution images are essential for a good design but will likely slow down your site if there isn’t careful consideration around image optimization. While image optimization may seem like a purely technical issue, it has significant implications for the customer experience and conversion rates.
- The homepage hero section, which explains what customers can expect from your product or service
- Product pages that highlight features and benefits while providing details like product specs, reviews, FAQs, or comparison charts
- Blog posts and other long-form content (like ebooks or white papers) that educate visitors on topics related to your business
- All content (text, images, video) used on landing pages or product pages to help convince customers that they need your products or services
The stock market is an excellent analogy for understanding the importance of user experience. We’ve all experienced the highs and lows of investing. It’s a roller coaster ride, but one that we’re willing to take because, in the long term, it’s a good investment.
I think of this same approach when thinking about performance optimizations and user experience. Marketing, design, and development are a team effort where you can see tremendous gains by winning on just one side. It’s like winning on multiple accounts when the market is up or down. If you win on all accounts, you’re in the green no matter what happens in the market.
In my experience, winning on performance alone won’t result in huge gains. Still, if you combine efforts with marketing and design improvements, you can really drive more revenue for your business.
What’s user experience
User experience (UX) design is the practice of improving the experience of users with a service or product. Designers are concerned with usability and accessibility and their emotional impact on consumers. The user experience is the ultimate goal of a website because it tells the story of what a website is about and why you should care.
User experience designers work closely with teams like marketing to ensure that all aspects of a product fit together seamlessly for consumers.
UX design involves web optimization of several aspects of a product that affect how it is used:
User research: learning about your users and how they will use your product
Information architecture: Refers to how information is categorized and organized on a website. A clean, well-organized, easy-to-navigate site with clear calls to action generates more sales. The main goal of information architecture is to help users find information and complete tasks.
Interaction design: Is the design of anything that aims to create a user experience. It may be as simple as a toaster or as complex as an interactive website. Interaction design is an applied craft that stacks knowledge from multiple disciplines to create meaningful experiences for users by connecting the digital and physical worlds.
Traditionally, interaction designers work in the digital domain, but more and more designers are applying their skills to design physical products and services.
Usability: Directly related to how much time it takes to accomplish something. It is not the same as ease of use, which applies to how easy it is to learn and remember how to complete a task.
Visual design: Visual design can make or break a website. If a site is visually appealing, it is more likely to keep the visitor engaged and encourage return visits. A poorly designed site may lose its audience before they even have time to delve into the content. Businesses that want their sites to be successful need to make sure they are as user-friendly as possible. Designers can help in this process, creating sites that are aesthetically pleasing and easy on the eyes.
An excellent visual designer has multiple skills. They must be able to communicate with clients, creating a design based on their preferences and style guidelines. They must also be able to create a website that works across multiple different browsers and operating systems, using CSS3 and HTML5 code to create pages that load quickly and efficiently. Good designers know how to set up analytics tracking on a website, so the business owner can monitor the behavior of visitors, including where they are most likely to go first or what tasks they may have trouble completing. The designer should also work with developers to ensure a smooth transition from design file(s) to live site, helping fix any problems that crop up between stages.
Accessibility: Accessible design refers to the practices used to ensure that your website or application is usable by people with disabilities, including those who use assistive technologies such as screen readers or alternative input methods like speech recognition software. The W3C Accessibility Initiative dedicates to making the Web more accessible to people with disabilities.
Appearance; Design and Optimization to Look and Feel Great.
User experience is king here, and its queen is the user interface.
Web Appearance is the overall look and feel of a website: how well the design works for its purpose and conveys information effectively to users; how clearly it communicates its brand; whether it’s easy to navigate; how appealing it is; whether it’s trustworthy; whether it seems responsive (that is, quick to respond) or slow to respond; and so on.
Web Appearance centers on two main factors: design and optimization. These can’t be separated; web design is a balancing act between making sure that the pages of your site are attractive, visually-pleasing, and easy to read while at the same time ensuring that they load quickly and efficiently. These are two aspects of web design that often compete with one another—it may be impossible to keep both of these elements at their highest level without compromising one for the sake of the other.
Web design and optimization are often thought of as single entities but can be broken down into individual components. Web design is the process of creating the visual layout of a website. The main elements of web design include the color scheme, text formatting, images, graphics, and structure.
Web optimization is a process that ensures that your website’s coding is correct, search engines can crawl it quickly and easily, and users can load pages without difficulty. It also refers to the placement and content of the site’s metadata to provide information about the site to search engines.
The user interface is one of the most important aspects of a website, especially when it comes to usability, but often how the user interface affects the look of a website is an overlooked area of design. The User Interface is the system that allows users to interact with a website to give them access to the content. It consists of everything that the user interacts with to navigate the site. This includes but is not limited to text links, images, search bars, buttons, mouse pointers, scrolling arrows, and anything else that a user interacts with while visiting a website can be considered part of the user interface.
In addition to being essential for usability, having an effective user interface also affects how professional or unprofessional a site looks. An ineffective UI can make a website look sloppy or amateurish, while an effective UI can look appealing and professional. A good example is comparing how two websites with similar content (such as Wikipedia and Answers) appear in terms of professionalism. At first glance, one may assume that organizations and institutions create both websites because they contain information about various topics. Still, Wikipedia’s UI appears more professional than Answers’ UI does.
Some of the most critical elements of a website’s design are usually hidden from the user, but they can make or break the appearance of a page.
When you’re building a site, you might be focused on the content, and rightly so—just look at sites like Reddit that put the users’ content first, with almost no visual embellishment. This can work well if there’s a strong visual identity to your site (like Reddit) or if you’re pushing forward new ideas about how users use a site and building the visual elements around that (like Google).
But for most sites, it’s vital to draw users in with a page that looks and feels good. As it turns out, UIs are particularly suited for this task because they follow principles all their own. If you’re designing a site where users will be spending time, it helps to know how to make a UI look as good as possible.
As a web admin, it’s important to remember that when people visit your site, it really matters how it looks, performs, and functions. The visual appeal of your website can help draw users in and encourage them to engage with your content. The performance can make it appear in the SERP so more people can find you. And visibility can help you reach more people with a good user experience.
Still, as an admin, you should also be aware that various factors outside of your control impact the way people perceive your website. Web designers themselves have no control over these features, including Internet browser compatibility, screen resolution (smaller screens will display less information), and Internet connection speed (if the site takes too long to load or is interrupted by loading errors). Perhaps most importantly, some people are visually impaired or have color deficiencies. Whether or not you choose to take these factors into account when designing your site is entirely up to you, but you should at least be aware of them.
If you need help with any of the concepts exposed in this article, check our SEO Glossary, which includes 300+ SEO concepts definitions.
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